Update: I was eliminated in round four. 😦 One of these talented ladies: Leah, Shannon, or Teresa, will win the grand prize during round 5.
Here’s my entry for Round Four of the Super Online Sewing Match II: The Carolyn Pajamas by Heather Lou of Closet Case Files. Thank you, Heather, for designing a pattern for sewing these classic pajamas. Do you know what makes this particular style of pajamas “classic”? My research suggests that it’s the contrasting piping around the notched collar and on the chest pocket. I also found out that women started borrowing men’s pajamas early in the 1900’s and then women’s pajamas came out in the 1920’s, thanks to designers like Coco Chanel. She invented the lounging pajamas and beachwear versions. Suddenly, pajamas became a stylish alternative to the nightgown. The piping is a signature detail of the “classic” pajamas. This is the first pair of pajamas that I’ve ever made for myself, so I’m glad they are classic and have so much history behind them. I traveled up the coast to Eureka, CA with my daughter for an overnight stay earlier in the week and while she worked, I shopped at Joann’s and Eureka Fabrics. Choosing the material was hard. At Joanns, I browsed and touched fabric for over two hours until I spotted just what I wanted. It was love at first sight! My fabric is a 100% white cotton with turquoise machine embroidery all over it. I also bought turquoise quilting cotton to make the coordinating piping. At Eureka fabrics, I spotted these handmade mother-of-pearl buttons that were just the right shade of blue to match the pajama fabric. Back home, it was time to make the piping according to Heather’s excellent tutorial. Then I cut and sewed the pajamas. I bought extra fabric so that I could also make the Carolyn shorts for a hot weather variation. I made the stylish short-sleeve top to go with the long pants and the shorts. It was exciting to see how perfect the piping turned out, thanks to Heather’s advise to make it so that it lines up with your 5/8″ seam allowance. I’m glad I had a generic piping foot for the sewing machine, because my piping turned out neat and even, without any stitches showing. I sewed it to one layer by moving the needle over to the right 5.1 and then when I sandwiched layers, I moved the needle to the left 3.1. It was a hassle to unscrew my regular foot then screw on the piping foot, but the results were worth it. The Carolyn Pajama directions were easy to follow with great illustrations. I had a couple of questions about a few of the procedures, so I emailed Heather. I really appreciate her prompt, helpful response. After that, the pajamas went together like a dream and the fit was perfect! I didn’t bother with a muslin for fit corrections, but just went by the sizes on the pattern. I made a size 12 top and size 14 bottoms. Here is a peek at the inside of my pajamas. You can double click on it for closer examination, if you want.I used woven fusible interfacing to interface the lapels. I sewed it, right sides together, to the inside edge of the lapel, turned it wrong sides together, then fused it for a neat clean edge.With the leftover fabric, I made a casual tank top to go with the Carolyn Pajamas. I used the Ella Top by Leila Patterns. I faced the neckline and armholes with the leftover bias strips not used for piping, and made the back yoke from the pajama fabric. Now, I have options for hot or cold weather and for dressing casual or classic! Even though I’ve been sewing since the age of 12, there’s always something new to learn like making piping and then sewing it in, choosing the right fabric for the right pattern, and learning about the history of the classic pajamas. It’s all a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for me! Also, sewing along side Leah, Shannon, and Teresa (three accomplished and talented sewists) is fun and exciting. I can’t wait to see their versions of the Carolyn Pajamas! Many thanks to Sew Mama Sew for organizing the competition and to Sew Modern for the generous gift certificate. I’ve already ordered Cotton and Steel fabric to make several Caravan Totes to give to my girls for Christmas! ….oh no! I’ve ruined the surprise 😉